January 28, 2014

More Conventions to Add to the List!

Had a quick update for you guys before I do another official OFFICIAL posting!

I have a couple of conventions to add to my list of places I'm vending at this year, namely Anime Park and Indy Pop Con.

MAY 10


Anime Park is a small, one-day convention that takes place at my old high school campus! I love going to this con because I remember back in the day when the anime club STARTED at this school. :) So if you happen to be local, and have a couple dollars to spare (I think they have a small entry fee of like 2 dollars or something like that), come by and support a local high school anime club!

MAY 30 - JUNE 1

Indy PopCon Logo

A brand new convention down in Indianapolis! It's kind of a "catch-all" convention leaning towards comics, movies, tv, anime, and more! I'm going to be in the artist's area, sharing a table with my good friend Rajamitsu of the newly christened TINY T-REX studio! (Hey, send me a link to a page when it's fully up and running, Raj, so I can link you here!)

And outside of these conventions, I'll also be vending at SHUTO CON and ANIME CENTRAL.

I also just signed up for GENCON, but that's one I go to for fun. 

As always, I'm trying to keep things up to date, so check out the "convention schedule" link on the side of the blog for where I'll be going to next! 

January 23, 2014

Long Term Project #2 - Sketchbook Archive

Okay, I totally thought I talked about this, buuuut apparently I did not. (I searched through my archives for information on it, and came up with nothing) So either my I wrote it and hid it in some other post, or I never talked about it. SO YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR ABOUT IT NOW. Or maybe again. I can't remember.

For those unawares, I have drawn A LOT. (Not the alot, though)

And this was only MOST of the books....this size.
Most of these drawings have actually been in relation to the characters I played in tabletop RPGs or comic ideas I came up with. (I really rarely EVER draw fan art, strangely enough). In case you missed the previous post, these drawings are directly in relation to the By the Roll of the Die artbook project I'm working on currently.

Part of the reason that project came to be was actually because of THIS particular project. I call it the "Archival Project" because I'm taking all my old sketchbooks and scanning them in, so I can make them searchable without having to worry about destroying the old books. They're starting to come apart at the spines, and I'd really like to not lose pages (and keep them in a nice cool, dark spot so they don't deteriorate too badly).

Basically, I take my sketchbooks, put em on the flatbed scanner, scan a page, flip the page, scan a page, flip the page. I don't bother editing the color/texture on the images, I'm just scanning raw images at this point. If I were to edit each one... egads, I'd be here forever. And since I'm not doing this project full-time, that's time I just don't want to spend.

This is my scanner. It's just a little Epson flatbed.

I don't use any sort of special equipment. Just a regular flat-bed scanner.

It's also at this time I will digress momentarily and beg all of you who are doing artwork that you want to scan in (like finished works - sketchy linework/thumbnails don't necessarily matter for this): please invest in a stand-alone flatbed scanner. I find that the stand-alones have more options and can usually get higher quality scanning (like 600 dpi, 48 bit color) than those pesky 3-in-ones. You also get the bonus of not having to worry that your scanner won't scan cause you ran out of ink!

In a related project, I'm slowly trying to organize all my files, because you see, after 4 computers my files are ALL OVER the place, and duplicated in weird folders because I'm so bad at remember how I did things on the previous computer.

So in an effort to organize all my old artworks, I created an archive folder for my sketchbooks.

And I still have 10+ more to go in THIS SIZE ALONE.

The folder is listed by the size of the book, followed by the year (so I can organize em all when I'm done - I'm scanning them sometimes out of order).

Remember when I told you about dating your artwork? Did I tell you about dating your artwork? Well I'm telling you now - SOMETIME SOMEWHERE in your sketchbook put at least a year on a page, or an image, or in the cover. SOMETHING. It doesn't have to be the date and time you made a piece, but at least give yourself a flag when stuff was made. YOUR BRAIN WILL NOT REMEMBER THIS LATER.

*coughs* Not that I'm relating by personal experience. NooooooOOOooo.... *coughs*

Then in each folder, I have the images labeled in a same manner (I may change this with a bulk renamer, but we'll see). Each book starts with scanning the cover (I put artwork on my covers, so it's sometimes easier to find a certain book when I'm looking for a certain cover), and they're always numbered starting with 001. Just in case I hit 100 at any time on these books.

And that way they're always guaranteed to be in page order.

On average my books will have 85 pages scanned.
That's almost 1200 separate scans, and it's still going strong!

This is something you can do in your spare time. (Don't laugh! You can do this while eating a meal at the computer. Or talking to people on skype, or looking through facebook!)

It's definitely been an interesting journey, as I'm looking at where I came from compared to where I'm at now. I had some pretty cringeworthy old artwork, and some really splendid pieces. It's fun to notice your trends changing as you draw - because you won't think of it when you're drawing it, but you change with EVERY picture you draw.

Hence why the piece of advice I see given out the most is : don't stop drawing.

Even if your output has slowed down over time, don't stop drawing. Every doodle, every tiny sketch is one more step in your artistic journey. (And all of you have the right to tell me this when I get down and depressed about my own art!). While sometimes disheartening or frustrating to look at old art, it's also uplifting knowing how far you've come. And sometimes you'll find an awesome idea you totally forgot about.

In archiving, you'll find old characters you liked, old characters you want to redo, and of course, not knowing what anatomy is.

There's a reason I give a panel on body proportions at conventions.

TL;DR version

Archive your work! You never know when you'll wanna look back at things, and let me tell you doing it as you're drawing it, is MUCH easier than having to scan a backlog of 20+ sketchbooks. :)

Oh. And make sure to put a date somewhere in your sketchbooks. IMPORTANT.

January 9, 2014

Long Term Project #1: By the Roll of the Die

First off, happy new year to all of you! I've been busy restructuring things and surprisingly enough WORKING on things.

Secondly, I made it into Anime Central's Artist Alley, much to my relief. I had been suffering from denials and rejections from some newer cons I tried and I was having a crisis of faith of my own work, but I was able to make it through ACEN's new Semi-Juried artworks. I'm working on new artworks now in hopes of making a more prolific portfolio so that I won't have as difficult of time at other shows. But that's for later discussions.

I wanted to focus on a few of my current "big" projects here to let everybody know what I'm working on (and why I'm so busy so I'm not nearly as talkative!).'

The first big project I'd like to talk about I've titled:

"By the Roll of the Die"

Which, for those paying attention is ALSO the name of my tumblr blog devoted to my tabletop RP game characters. (found at bytherollofthedie.tumblr.com: Hilarity and weird jokes may ensue)

I've been in a lot of tabletop roleplaying games (think like D&D) over the past 13 years, so I have built up quite a library of characters! I've enjoyed drawing them, and I thought, what better topic for an artbook than a bunch of old RPG characters. If I'm able to crank out enough artworks, I'd love to have the book ready for Anime Central which is in May, so I have about 5 months to do a bunch of color artworks and archiving and the like. (on top of other comic projects. See why I can't do commissions right now? :P)

I came up with the idea after I started archiving my old sketchbooks. Which I thought I had talked about on here... but I'm not able to find the post for some reason... maybe I *thought* I wrote it but didn't actually write it... oh well! ANYWAY, I decided to start digitally scanning in all my old sketchbooks because as I go flipping through them for reference, they're starting to fall apart.

WE CAN'T HAVE THAT! So I'm going through each book, and scanning any page with anything big enough to worry about. I'm up to book 16 (and still have at least 10 more to go of the 9x12, not including any really old small/big ones, AND my 4 photo albums full of doodles). Each book so far has about 80-90 pages scanned, which brings my scanning total to over 1300 scanned pages - and the scanner is still going strong. YOU GO SCANNER! *tosses confetti* (for those curious it's an Epson Perfection V300 Photo scanner. It's just a regular flatbed, but it's been really nice)

So why am I even bothering with all this for just a book? Well I've always wanted to make an art book, and I can't make em for my comics just yet because SPOILERS! And why my old RPG characters? Well, surprisingly I've evolved in my artwork over the past 14 years, and my body drawing and character design has improved IMMENSELY. (and some of these were just so bad ... augh! I needed to fix it)

So here's a preview of some of the things I'm working on (also posted to karmada.tumblr.com)

Katrina Athas

First up, we've got an oldie, but goodie. I liked Katrina, she was a great character, and I got pretty darn attached to her. I made her sometime around 2002 I think (my dating wasn't the best on my images all the time - NOTE TO ARTISTS: at least put a little date in the corner of the page. Maybe just a year. Please! You'll forget. I PROMISE YOU)

She had these ridiculous puffy pants/chaps thing and wore this bodysuit underneath. GEMS EVERYWHERE. BIG CUFFED BOOTS. (No, I'm not a CLAMP fan, noooOOOoo)

Would you believe she was to be an airship pilot? I WOULDN'T.


I even redrew her in 2007 in hopes I could draw better! It was a valiant effort.

So when I was at Anime Crossroads this year, I finally bit the bullet and decided to start redesigning these poor poor characters. I loved her big coat to death, so I decided to keep it, but I simplified a few other things. I think it mostly maintains the previous look, but more... functional.

Still wanted to keep the breadloaves for shoulder pads though. Couldn't help it.

Lance Tavera

Next up, is one of more hilarity... Lance. He was my first male tabletop RPG character I was able to play. It mostly came about for two reasons: I ran out of good tropes/ideas for girl characters, and our entire party was female. I wanted to mix it up.

He was an engineer character (the first of many. I'm stubborn and will come up with one number-wise one of these days), and gawd I didn't think I was this bad at drawing dudes, but EGADS, feast your eyes on this...

Rumiko Takahashi isn't exactly the best reference
for torso-to-leg ratios.

 So much is so very wrong with this picture. I was totally proud of his design back in the day. I was like "YEAH, AWESOME". Not to mention I ended up hating those triangles, I totally stole hair from Edward Elric, AND, AND I thought longer legs = taller human.

He was supposed to be muscular, and tall to balance out all the ladies. Looking back at it, I feel like epic fail. HOWEVER, I have given him new breath, new life, and a possible new design:

I'm still tweaking this. I also accidentally made him a Lefty.
...I'm okay with this.

While he didn't come from exactly a "medieval" kind of world (they had some sort of modern clothing conveniences) I tried to make it more of a mishmash. He's still gonna have some goggles somewhere... but I just don't know where yet (neck, head, hanging on belt, dunno). AND THOSE TRIANGLES ARE GONE.


Up next is actually an NPC (non player character) I had made for a chat based RPG a long time ago. (Please don't ask, it makes me feel old, and I just had a birthday too). He was the son of the main goddess in my pantheon of goddesses. She apparently wanted to know motherly love, so made a kid (goddesses can kinda do that), but was then forced to leave him in the hands of mortals.

Let's say that when he found out he wasn't happy. So he's kind of a mini-god, he's grumpy, and he's tired of your crap. (He also got stuck in a cloned human vessel of a small kid for a while, so that definitely doesn't sit well with ANYONE ... it was a weird game...)

He was also one of the first characters I gave a midriff shirt to.

I clearly had no clue about armor (and hey look, it's those GIANT LEGS again!), let alone how fabric worked. Gosh, I wanna say he was made from somewhere like 2005 or something. I was getting better? I was also beginning my OMG NOSES MUST BE SO FAR FROM THE EYES phase, so it was just an interlude.

I wanted to give him more of a "robe" motif. He's a friggin' demi-god thing. He don't need no stinkin' armor unless he wants it.

I actually drew a sword in this time too!

I really like how his pose came out.

...and for those who are fans of my other works, he might look a little familiar...

it's kind of a running gag now

So that's the first batch! Until next time, where I talk about other old characters I have had and updates I've done to them!